8 min

Why a flexible intranet should never compromise the user experience

David Fletcher

February 4, 2022

One of the biggest reasons intranets fail is that they're designed by committee and soon become unusable. A mishmash of apps, widgets, and unfindable content sends users running to external apps and shadow IT. And governance and structure go out the window.  

Beezy offers flexible, customizable intranet design. But it may surprise you to hear that we don't advise our customers to tinker with certain things – like its user experience. Why? For these reasons:

1. Beezy is made up of key components designed to work together for an exceptional user experience.

Take a tour inside the minds of our team, or of sociologist Maximo Castagno, our co-founder and Chief Product Officer, and you'll find a fascination with human nature – digging deep into the psyche of what makes us tick.

We've spent the past decade developing a product that really works, because:

  • It's based on best practices, and on learning from and talking to our customers. We've made it our mission to understand their markets and industries, and their needs in terms of collaboration, process, and communication.
  • It forges better working relationships, fosters knowledge-sharing, and facilitates increased productivity.

2. Beezy out of the box is up and running quickly.

Beezy includes everything your company needs in a modern digital workplace, so you won't be waiting for it to be built from scratch.

It's a solution that's based on user-centered design – or, if you will, why you instinctively look here for something and not there. This is why we think Beezy sits apart from its rivals.

Our customers don't need to know exactly how to structure their intranet or where to put each widget. Because we know. That's why you choose Beezy. We do the heavy lifting, leaving you to focus on your business.

3. There are lots of ways you can customize Beezy (without impacting the user experience).

There are many ways you can customize your Beezy digital workplace solution, based on your needs and how your organization works. Here are just a few of the ways Beezy's intranet design is flexible.

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Brand your digital workplace (from look and feel to fonts)

Beezy offers a deep level of branding customization, with the flexibility to apply as much or as little as you need. This means your digital workplace will reflect your company's brand identity and values.

Some platforms out there follow a one-size-fits-all approach, there's no room to customize beyond basic configuration. Other platforms offer too much choice (the paradox of choice), which not only overwhelms users and content authors, but results in a disjointed, noisy UI (user interface).

Striking the balance is tough, but large organizations have a strong need to maintain their brand identity. And it's important they're able to do this within a framework that allows for a consistent, coherent experience. Beezy provides it.

Fonts, for example, are part of your branding package and theme you choose during your Beezy configuration. So you can pick whatever font you want. Once this is set, though, we purposefully don't allow changing of fonts and colors, because we want to protect the integrity of the user experience.

Take LinkedIn, for example. When you're creating content, you've got one font, with three different sizing options. What you don't have is the ability to choose Wingdings, the color pink, or Times New Roman, size 54. Why? Because it's not consistent with the brand experience.

As Nielsen Norman Group (the leader in research-based user experience) says, consistent design is critical for intranets – and that includes fonts, color palette, and imagery.

 

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Create and control communities and pages

With Beezy, it's easy to create and configure communities and pages, where groups of employees can work together on projects. And, perhaps more importantly, you have full control over who's allowed to do what in these spaces. 

Some platforms let you create either public or restricted communities. Beezy understands the need for moderated communities, where certain people can create content and the rest of the users can only read it.

Leverage your existing SharePoint investments

Native SharePoint is an ever-evolving platform that's constantly updated. In fact, there were well over 1,000 updates last year.

If you opt to build (vs buy) a digital workplace solution, you'll need to make constant updates to keep it functional.

If you're willing to build your own intranet from scratch, you'll need to be willing to take the headaches that come with it. Instead, you can have flexibility within your existing tech stack.

Place your widgets in the right spot to boost engagement

When you hear the word "widget", your first thought might be a weather widget or a stock ticker. Widgets can be useful sources of information and engagement when they're used properly and in the right place. That's why, with Beezy, where you're able to place widgets is based on best practices.

As this Forbes article notes, intranet front pages are all too often cluttered. We use this space wisely and think about what the users want to see.

Take Android phones an an example. These phones have offered widgets for years, yet the home screens on most long-time Android users' phones are filled with their go-to apps (not widgets). Why? Because home screen real estate is prime.

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Choose your Hero banner layout and take your internal comms up a notch

The Beezy Hero area features a carousel that displays engaging content. It's the place for must-see news and internal comms. With Beezy, our pre-determined layouts ensure that editorialized content always hits the mark but keeps the administrator in control. By providing different layouts to choose from, Beezy gives you the look you want – as well as making sure the right eyeballs are on the content you don't want users to miss.

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Configure your Megamenu and footer

The Beezy Megamenu (the navigation for your site) is yours to customize. You can choose how you want to configure it, so the structure makes sense for your organization and your people. With Beezy, you can even target different parts of the navigation to specific types of users (frontline workers, departments, or country-specific users, for example). This level of configuration flexibility enables a personalized experience that ensures relevance for all users.

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Meet your global and local needs

Beezy adapts to large organizations that have to operate at scale across the globe. With Beezy's global and local capabilities, you've got one centralized digital workplace that can integrate local intranets around the world. This means you can provide a unified user experience under the same technology – serving every local need while meeting your global strategy.

You can target Beezy's features to types or subsets of users. This capability not only allows for all content to be relevant to users but also means that large global enterprises can meet their employees' diverse language needs, fostering an inclusive culture and sense of identity and belonging for every user.

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Integrate with your favorite third-party systems

Beezy's approach to integration is on of the most flexible aspects of its intranet design.

Beezy connectors enable integrations with the third-party apps and tools your company relies on, like Salesforce and Workday. But instead of having a Salesforce widget, for example, you can customize the integration, creating intelligent 'triggers' (called Action Cards) that allow users to take action. These Action Cards mean users can act on a task right from Beezy, without having to jump from screen to screen.

By connecting your workplace apps with Beezy, it becomes much easier for employees to carry out daily tasks, as everything can be accessed from one central location. You can use our ready-built connectors for Power Automate or other business process management tools to create all your employees' day-to-day external platforms, in a matter of minutes.

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4. If you really want Beezy to do something a certain way, you can leverage our API and SDK – and almost anything is possible

Beezy provides a complete product and user experience right out of the box, but if you want us to, we'll provide Beezy's API and software development kit (SDK) so you can customize it. That said, we think you'll be delighted with Beezy as it comes.

To test-drive Beezy, get in touch.

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